The Chicago Fire will wind down its sputtering season without two starting XI regulars.
The club announced Tuesday that defender Eric Gehrig and goalkeeper Sean Johnson will miss the final five games of the season with injuries. Johnson is out with a torn labrum that is not expected to require surgery while Gehrig will undergo surgery for a stress fracture in his foot.
Both players have appeared in the majority of the games throughout the season. Johnson played in 21 matches and had his usual moments of brilliance (you know what I’m talking about Philadelphia Union) that has landed him a spot on the national team and drawn interest from Europe.
Gehrig, an Illinois native, was in his first season with his hometown team as Jeff Larentowicz’s partner in central defense. A few less than stellar appearances at right back were sprinkled into Gehrig’s 25 MLS appearances for the club, but a more effective relationship with Larentowicz in the center of the defense eventually took shape. Gehrig logged 2,214 minutes and one assist with five shots on goal.
While not a season for the ages, Gehrig expects to be back with the club next year. Gehrig tweeted his intention to be back stronger than ever in 2016 and interim coach/technical director Brian Bliss also said in a press release that he expected Gehrig (and of course Johnson) back with the team next year.
Jon Busch will likely handle goal duties the rest of the season while Ty Harden figures to fill in for Gehrig. If Bliss chooses to go a little crazy and play Alec Kann and Patrick Doody or something, I would have no problem with it. Might as well see what the kids have at this point in the year. Even if it is slightly out of position in Doody’s case.